“Brazil is back on the continent it should never have left. Africa gathers many opportunities and a huge potential for growth.”
These remarks were made by Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – who is widely known as Lula – during his speech in South Africa, where he is attending the Brics annual summit.
The meeting of leaders of the bloc (made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is being held in Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial hub.
Lula’s comments were a veiled jab at his right-wing predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who never visited Africa during his four-year presidential term.
Lula was sworn in as Brazil’s president in January 2023 after a bitterly contested election contest. The veteran left-leaning politician also led the country between 2003 and 2010 when he made several trips to Africa.
He has already paid a brief visit to Cape Verde this year.
The Brazilian leader has made enhancing relations with the so-called “global south” a centrepiece of his country’s foreign policy.
“In my first two mandates, the African continent had been a priority. I went 12 times to Africa to 21 countries,” Lula said.
In spite of Brazil’s inclusive foreign policy, according to Brazilian press reports, the country is not keen on expanding the membership of Brics, as is favoured by China and Russia.
After taking part in the summit in South Africa, the Brazilian president will carry on with his African trip, going next to Angola and to São Tomé and Príncipe, where he will attend a meeting of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.